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Networking player D-Link is concentrating on delivering a channel strategy that promotes profitability and avoids entangling partners with low-margin opportunities.
The firm has been expanding its product range over the past few years and is keen to work alongside partners to go after more substantial deals and take up more of the technologies it can offer.
Neil Patel, channel partner sales director at D-Link Europe, is leading the effort and has already seen a positive reaction from partners keen to sell higher value deals.
“We’re focusing on profitability, both for us and for our partners. We’ve chased top-line growth for a long time and now it’s about structured, recurring, profitable business,” he said.
“We’ve never really wanted to walk away and say, ‘This is not good business. I don’t want to do this anymore’,” he said, adding that the company was now prepared to assess deals and conclude that it doesn’t want to continue in the usual way. “We said, ‘This is not something that’s going to be core to our business and we’re walking away from it’, which I think is quite a brave thing to do.”
Patel said it was important to protect the business and provide partners with more profitable opportunities otherwise it would get bogged down in “toxic” deals that added no value.
“We’re trying to move higher up the food chain with a slightly different portfolio, for example, in terms of what we want to offer. That is a major shift. It means that we are focusing on 5G O-RAN opportunities, on automating factories, trying to take industry 4.0 applications out of Wi-Fi, and looking at whether this can be better utilised by using 5G,” he said.
As well as pushing the channel towards higher margin opportunities, Patel said the strategy also aimed to ensure the company had the right products to put into their hands.
“The channel is such an integral part of that so we were trying to put more value-added products into that segment,” he said. “It means getting out into the marketplace, meeting the right types of partners and offering them a broader portfolio that we’ve offered them previously.”
Inevitably, D-Link is having to educate some of the channel about what it can now offer to make sure they see the vendor’s wider range of options.
“They’re used to us just being price competitive, they’re not used to having this plethora of products,” added Patel. “I think once the partners try it, see it, look at it, the confidence comes back.”
The growth in hybrid working and the ever-present need for reliable networking infrastructure has also benefited D-Link and its partners. Patel said it had learnt over the past three years that pitching a solution that solved customer problems, rather than just concentrated on price, was the most important approach.
“We’re very focused on on the B2B segment and on the SMB segment and the network. Partners that tend to lead with us tend to win and make money,” he said.